Housing advocates estimate that at least 50,000 eviction cases will be filed in housing courts for nonpayment of rent.
According to a report by The Aspen Institute, nearly 20 million renters nationwide could be at risk of eviction by the end of September.
The last thing New York needs, to go along with the coronavirus pandemic, economic woes, protests against police brutality and a surge in shootings, is an exploding homelessness crisis.
Housing advocates and pro-tenant lawmakers have already proposed some solutions that would prevent mass evictions when the moratorium is set to conclude.
Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou and State Senator Michael Gianaris would cancel rent for tenants and mortgages for small homeowners. Another bill would establish a coronavirus rental assistance fund, and a third bill would create a fund to help small landlords with the costs of maintenance and operation.
Brooklyn State Senator Zellnor Myrie proposed another piece of legislation, the Emergency Housing Stability and Displacement Prevention Act, which would prevent evictions during the entire COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, housing advocates marched in Jackson Heights to demand that housing courts halt the process of evictions. As one organizer put it, throwing a renter out on the streets would likely send them to the hospital.
Although New York City’s coronavirus infection and death rates have improved dramatically, the crisis is not over yet. Tenants need to stay in their homes until the pandemic is over.
While Cuomo is not likely to take up measures like canceling rent, state lawmakers should put pressure on him to act immediately. Either pass these bills or come up with smart, plausible alternatives to prevent evictions.